Culture

Impossible Foods is bringing its faux-beef products to Walmart

~2,100

The number of Walmart stores that will carry Impossible products.

Impossible

Impossible Foods has announced it's bringing its plant-based faux-meat products to nearly 2,100 Walmart stores beginning today. It’s the most significant rollout of the company’s alternative meat products yet, bringing Impossible’s total reach to about 8,000 retail stores across the United States. It's also being carried by Disney resorts and has branched out to include faux-pork offerings, further widening its potential applications and appeal.

Alternative meat has seen an incredible surge in popularity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to rising beef prices and increased availability of the plant-based products. Though the alt-meat market is still only a small fraction of the size of the meat-processing industry in the U.S., it’s made significant gains in recent months that experts say are likely to stick around well after the pandemic has passed.

Thanks, COVID — It’s difficult to feel optimistic about anything related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 150,000 lives in the United States alone and continues to ravage most of the world. Nonetheless, the pandemic enabling huge growth in the alternative meat market has been something of a bright spot for those concerned with the meat industrial complex.

As the pandemic took hold of the United States, unsanitary working conditions led to widespread outbreaks of COVID-19 at meat-packing plants. That sent the price of beef up more than 10 percent in May alone. Many of those plants are now facing lawsuits from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

Grocery store sales of alternative meat products rose more than 250 percent in the nine weeks leading up to May 2, according to data from Nielsen. And those numbers aren’t expected to return to their pre-pandemic balances until at least 2025.

Still expanding — Impossible Foods isn’t stopping at Walmart. The company also announced plans this week to bring its products to Trader Joe’s grocery stores across the country. Impossible says the company’s presence in grocery stores has increased 18 times over this year already — and it hopes to bring that presence up to 50 times more than last year’s by the end of 2020.

Impossible’s business model — affordable, plant-based products that even the most carnivorous amongst us can enjoy — is paying off. The company’s success is also allowing for more creative meat alternatives, like Redefine Meat’s 3D-printed “Alt-Steak.”